BJP to withdraw candidate for Karnataka South Teachers’ seat to placate JD(S) in MLC polls

BJP was to field candidates in four MLC seats, leaving two for JD(S). However, the saffron party announced nominees for five constituencies.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 15, 2024 | 7:37 PMUpdatedMay 15, 2024 | 7:37 PM

HD Kumaraswamy and HD Deve Gowda meet PM Modi

Ahead of the Karnataka Legislative Council elections, the BJP’s Karnataka unit is expected to withdraw its nominee for the Karnataka South Teachers’ segment and back JD(S) — its alliance partner in the state — from the seat.

The polling for six Legislative Council seats is slated for 3 June, necessitated as six sitting MLCs’ tenure would culminate on 21 June.

The elections are being held for three graduates’ and three teachers’ segments. The candidates are allowed to file nominations on or before Thursday, 16 May.

The scrutiny of nominations will be carried out on 17 May. The last date to withdraw nominations is on 20 May.

Differences have reportedly emerged between the alliance partners over seat-sharing for the MLC polls.

The JD(S) leadership is said to be upset with BJP for not honouring the seat-sharing agreement as the national party announced candidates for five seats, leaving only one for the regional party. As per the agreement, BJP had agreed to contest four seats, leaving two for JD(S).

JD(S) leaders claimed the issue was escalated to the BJP high command, which responded by honouring their demands.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders ruled out differences with JD(S) in Karnataka. The saffron party also decided to withdraw its nominee from the Karnataka South Teachers’ seat to pave the way for JD(S).

Congress has announced nominees for all six segments for the Legislative Council elections.

Also Read: BJP, Congress in Karnataka calculate poll prospects amid wait for results

‘We were surprised’

BJP decided to withdraw its Karnataka South Teachers’ constituency candidate after JD(S) decided to field its nominee.

JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda gave a ticket to the party leader Vivekananda. The regional party is also contesting the South West Teachers’ segment, where it has fielded sitting MLA SL Bhojegowda.

The South Teachers’ segment has been represented by the JD(S) for two consecutive terms since 2012.

On condition of anonymity, a JD(S) leader and former Karnataka minister told South First: “In the coordination committee meeting with the BJP, it was decided that BJP and JD(S) would contest four and two seats, respectively, in the legislative council elections.”

He added: “We were surprised when BJP announced nominees for five seats — including the South Teachers’ seat.”

The JD(S) leader continued: “The party leadership — HD Deve Gowda and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy — escalated the matter before Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others. Thereafter, BJP said its nominee would withdraw his papers on Thursday.”

He added: “We have decided to file nominations for the same seat on Thursday. BJP’s Karnataka unit chief BY Vijayendra will take part.”

He noted: “We demanded those two seats, where the party has a stronghold. The party will be contesting in South Teachers’ and South West Teachers’ segment.”

Also Read: Won’t transfer Prajwal Revanna case to CBI, says Karnataka home minister

BJP denies differences with JD(S)

BJP’s Dhananajay Sarji will be contesting the South West Graduates seat, A Deve Gowda from the Bangalore Graduates, YV Narayanaswamy from Karnataka South-East Teachers’ seat, and Amarnatha Patil from the North-East Graduates seat.

On anonymity, a BJP MLC told South First: “The party will withdraw its nomination from South Teachers’ seat and back the JD(S) candidate. I believe it was due to some miscommunication the party announced a candidate for the South Teachers’ seat as well.”

He added: “Now, the seat has been given to JD(S) as per the talks held in the coordination committee.”

He also noted: “There are no differences with the alliance partners. The alliance was not confined just to the Lok Sabha elections.”

Asked whether the sexual violence allegations against Prajwal Revanna had caused a dent with its alliance partner, the BJP MLC pointed out: “This incident has not affected our alliance. We are on good terms. JD(S) has already expelled the main accused from the party.”

He also noted that the state government had formed a special investigation team (SIT) to look into the case, and the probe was underway.

“We condemn the incident and do not have any soft corner for the accused. We are confident that our alliance will not only put up a stellar performance in the Lok Sabha elections but also in the legislative council polls as well,” said the BJP MLC, stressing that victory in these elections would help it maintain a majority in the Council.

The aforementioned JD(S) leader and former minister told South First: “There were minor differences with the alliance partners over seat-sharing. The issue has been addressed. It is common for alliance partners — irrespective of parties — to have some differences.”

He added: “We have no other differences with BJP. The Prajwal Revanna sexual violence case has not impacted our alliance. We will put up a stellar performance in the Legislative Council polls.”

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)